Boss FZ-3 Fuzz

FZ-3 Fuzz (Boss)

The FZ-3 is the 2nd fuzz in the line of compact Boss pedals (the first one is the FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz).

It has been sold from 1997 to 1999, however it seems to me that finding an used one is not a problem.

Right now Boss is selling the FZ-5, which is completely different and uses COSM technology for classic fuzz emulation. This last model does not emulate the FZ-2 or FZ-3, anyway :(

In Boss intentions, this pedal should have a classic ’60 sound, however I’m not sure if this can be considered true, since I don’t have any classic fuzz like the Maestro or Dallas Fuzzface available for comparison.

As you can see in the above photo, the controls are very simple, and this is a deliberate step back from the FZ-2, which had more controls.


A demo video on YouTube

Another video on YouTube

Schematics for both FZ2 and FZ3

Boss OC-3 Super Octave

OC-3 Super Octave (Boss)

The OC-3, available since 2003, is the successor to the Boss OC-2 Octaver, with several improvements which make it a very different beast from the OC-2, while mantaining compatibility with it.

It has two inputs, one for guitar and one for bass, and 4 control knobs. The first one, starting from left to right, is for the original instrument input level, while the second one is for the lower octave volume. The function for the third knob depends on the position of the fourth one, which is a three-position rotary switch.

In the first mode (called “Drive”) the third knob is for distortion level. It should be noted that when using “Drive” both the original and lower octave will be distorted if using “Output (mono)” jack, but only the lower octave sound will be distorted on “Direct Out” output jack.

In the second “OCT2″ mode, this control is for the 2nd lower octave level, just the same as in the OC-2 pedal.

In the third “POLY” mode, the control acts as a “Range” control: i.e. extends the range of frequencies on which the pedal applies its effect. This mode is also recommended if you are playing more than one note at a time.

OC-3 Super Octave (Boss) Box


Nominal Input Level: -20 dBu

Nominal Output Level: -20 dBu

Current Draw: 50 mA

Input Impedance: 1 MOhm

Output Impedance: 1 kOhm

Residual Noise Level: -96 dBu (IHF-A)

Recommended Load Impedance: 10 kOhm or greater

OC-3 Page on Boss USA site, with brochure and audio demo

OC-3 Page on Boss Japan site, with both video and audio demo and user’s manual

An OC-3 demo on YouTube

Demo video from BOSS on YouTube

Boss NF-1 Noise Gate

NF-1 Noise Gate (Boss)

This is a simple noise reduction unit, the first one in Boss compact pedals line-up, and can be used to get rid of background noise and hum during silent passges while playing.

It has been sold from 1979 to 1988, while right now the only compact noise-reduction system is the NS-2.

The NF-1 has two controls: Sens and Decay. Sens (for Sensitivity) sets the threshold for intervention, while Decay sets the intervention time after last signal, from 100 msec to 1.6 seconds.


- Input Impedance: 470 kOhm

- Recommended Load Impedance: 10 kOhm or higher

- Current Draw: 3.9 mA

Schematics for the NF-1 can be found here:

NF-1 Schematic (Free Info Society)

NF-1 Schematic (Schematic Heaven)

Boss DS-1 Distortion

DS-1 Distortion (Boss)

This can be considered a modern classic: it has been on sale since 1978, and while the circuitry has changed in time, the sound has more or less remained the same.

The stock DS-1 isn’t my personal favourite, I find the sound too thin and metallic for my taste, but the interaction with the amp is very important for this pedal (or any overdrive, anyway) so it would be best to try one with your setup to see if you like the sound.

Some great artists have supposedly used this pedal or modified versions: Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, John Frusciante and John Petrucci. The pedal has a very reasonable price and can be easily found, new or used.

The circuitry lends itself to very interesting mods, and several schematics, kits or already modified pedals for people not used to soldering are available around the web.

Here are some of the links for DS-1 mods, in random order:

Analog Man

Robert Keeley


And here is the Roland-Boss page:

Owner’s manual, samples and info from Roland

Article on a DS-1 mod by Brian Wampler

Artists using the DS-1 on Guitar Geek site

A nice demo on YouTube

Another nice demo on YouTube

Another nice test on YouTube

Boss RC-2 Loop Station

RC-2 Loop Station (Boss)

In the past, several Boss compact pedals (the DSD-2, DSD-3, DD-5 and DD-6) had limited sampler capabilities, although they couldn’t be considered real samplers.

Then Boss made the RC-20XL and the RC50, both guitar-oriented samplers, but they coudn’t be considered “compact”. The RC-2 Loop Station, available from 2006, has 16 minutes mono sampling time, up to 11 phrases , some drum patterns and a “loop quantize” function. A nice touch is the AUX input to allow sampling from an external source.

While the reduced size can be useful, it does have some drawbacks, and this unit is less comfortable to work with, if compared with larger models. However, it’s possible to use FS-5U or FS-6 external switches.

RC-2 Loop Station box (Boss)

RC-2 Manuals (44 small pages!) and info on Roland site

RC-2 Video demo and images on Boss USA site


- Nominal Input Level: INPUT -20 dBu AUX IN -10 dBu

- Input Impedance: INPUT: 1 MOhm AUX IN 47 kOhm

- Nominal Output Level: -20 dBu

- Output Impedance: 1 kOhm

- Recommended Load Impedance: 10 kOhm or better

- Current Draw : 50 mA

Boss LS-2 Line Selector

This is not really an effect, but simply, as the name states, a line selector / switcher. However, it does have a “boost” capability and allows for some neat tricks, so it woudn’t be wise to dismiss it as a simple “switch”.

There are 3 controls: two are volume levels and the third is a “mode” knob, which has six postions. Two different color LEDs are used to indicate which output is active.

1st position “A<>B” alternates between A and B outputs (no bypass)

2nd position “A<>Bypass” selects between line A and bypass

3rd position “B<>Bypass” selects between line B and bypass

4th position “A>B>Bypass>” selects between line A, line B and bypass in sequence

5th position “A+B Mix>Bypass” selects between a mix of A and B outputs and bypass

6th position “Output Select” selects between Send A, Send B and direct output

One last note, this pedal has a DC out too: this means that it can be used with an external AC adapter and a cable to supply power to other pedals.

Since this short description isn’t really clear, you may want to read the original manual at this address:

LS-2 Manual (Pdf format, english language) on Roland Japan Site


- Current draw: 25 mA

- Input impedance: 1 MOhm

- Output impedance: 1 kOhm

- Recommended load impedance: 10 kOhm or greater

- Residual noise: -85 dBu or less (IHF-A)